Take Heart

The Art Journal Adventure prompt this week was “heart” but, of course, I did not go all sweet and whimsical with my take on that prompt.  Rather than the typical “love” heart, I decided to create an illustration inspired by an anatomical heart.  Don’t expect it to be medical-textbook-accurate, however, because realism isn’t my thing either.  What I came up with was a female figure with an exposed heart.  I used her hair as a sort of curtain being pulled back to reveal some abstracted ribs and that bright red heart.  My first impulse was to show her peeling her skin back to reveal the internal organs so I am glad I came up with the more aesthetically pleasing option of the long, dark hair.  I do enjoy working with a limited palette so I kept this illustration to just the monochrome and splashes of red.

14 - Take Heart

 

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Rainbow Art Journal – Yellow and Purple

Since I was in the yellow section of my Rainbow Art Journal, I wanted to include a page that was about complementary colours.  In this case, that meant yellow and purple.  I have also been using this art journal to record the art materials I use so this page was created using three Daler Rowney Aquafine watercolours: cadmium yellow, gamboge, and purple lake.  I got the illustration to the point that the figure was complete and the background was entirely yellow.  Thinking that the yellow background was too bland and that the figure was floating in too much empty space, I added the purple plant forms.  I think perhaps I went a bit overboard and now the background is too busy – and the purple a bit too dominant in a page that is supposed to be predominantly yellow.  Nevermind that I strayed from my intentions because I quite like the illustration regardless.

33 - Yellow and Purple - Art Journal Page

 

Scarlet and Ice Blue

This Art Journal illustration is my response to this month’s Art Snacks challenge.  The idea is to create something using only the supplies in that month’s box.  Among the goodies, I received a paint pen in a strong red colour and a pencil in what was described as “light cobalt” but which I think of as an ice blue.  Trying to make something coherent out of a palette so tonally at odds was, therefore, the real challenge.  I used the paint pen at full strength and diluted with water.  It is honestly probably a bit glossy for my taste.  I continue with my lifelong inability to use coloured pencils in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.  There is no discernible difference between the way I colour in and the way my 9 year old colours in.  I think, however, that I have managed to create an illustration that makes those two very different colours work well together.

Scarlet and Ice Blue - Art Journal Page

Selfie as Bird

My youngest son had major oral surgery yesterday so he was off school and I was off work.  While he was snuggled up on the sofa recovering from the anesthesia, I sat with him and worked in my art journal.  I had to keep things quick and simple as a result of the context.  Inspired by this week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt of “birds and blossoms”, I bashed out this rapid illustration of myself in bird form.  The scaffolding is my go-to doodle self-portrait that I just tweak and adapt as required.  So, for instance, this time I gave myself very round glasses to be more bird-eye-like and obviously I replaced arms and feet with wings and talons.  My son asked if I was drawing myself as a wise owl or a harpy.  And that, folks, probably tells you as much as you ever need to know about my parenting modes.

12 - Self-Portrait as Bird

Change of Seasons

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “change” and I immediately thought of the changing seasons because Spring is finally – finally! – here.  We have (I assume and hope) seen the last of the snow, there are buds on the trees, small wildflowers are beginning to appear among the blades of grass, the bird song is louder in the mornings, and there was tree pollen all over the bonnet of my car this morning.  I have seamlessly segued from snuffling because of winter colds into snuffling because of seasonal allergies but I will embrace it because I am so ready for Spring.

My Art Journal page is simple: an abstracted and silhouetted tree divided into four sectors, one per season.  I have a mild OCD about needing things to be clockwise (I also have one about even numbers) so I tried to force myself to depict the seasons cycling anti-clockwise.  It’s a sort of “flooding your fears” kind of theory that obviously has no substance to it because it failed miserably as therapy.  I felt twitchy as soon as I finished the page. Now it is supremely annoying to me that I have the seasons cycling anti-clockwise.  I almost wanted to repaint all of the sectors to make them clockwise but I don’t have time for that so, instead, I am just going to turn the page in my art journal and pretend my psychological experiment never happened.

11 - Change - Seasons - Art Journal Page

White Rabbit

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was “Time”.  Time is a major stressor for me because I am perpetually over-scheduled, often needing to be in two places at once, and because I am a control freak who is neurotically punctual.  The conflict between those pragmatic and psychological states generates a whole load of mental exhaustion.  And that is precisely why I thought of the White Rabbit.  His being late has him strung out and fizzing with frenetic energy, so needing to propel himself that he is almost paralysed by how overwhelmed he is.  I can relate.

I went whimsical for this illustration.  I used old book pages as my substrate since the White Rabbit is, of course, a book character.  The brown hue of the paper then inspired the colour palette.  I think he looks pretty cute and surprisingly relaxed and cheery for someone who is running so late for a very important date.

10 - Time - White Rabbit - Art Journal

Raven Black

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was to use black.  I know a lot of artists who avoid black, including some who think black should never form part of an artist’s palette, but I am not one of them.  You may have noted that I use black a lot.  In fact, I have no doubt that black and grey probably feature more in my artwork than any other colours (and, yes, I know black isn’t technically a colour but whatever).  I like to use it along with a pop of colour.  It’s kind of one of my jams.  I am quite comfortable working in monochrome.  It may be partly laziness and partly down to limitations of time but I like working with a very limited palette.  All of which is to say that for me to use black was not much of a challenge really.  My challenge, therefore, was to create visual interest and texture while only using black and grey.  I used the Ecoline liquid watercolour used in my previous art journal page for the background.  Once I added the black, I realised what a warm grey it is but I opted to use it because I liked the way it pooled to create blossoms and blooms for a bit of soft visual texture.  To create the visual texture on the figure’s clothing, I did the old sprinkle salt onto wet watercolour trick.  I went entirely overboard with the salt, however, as I was rushing to get out the door to my youngest son’s Open House night at school.  Better than ingesting that quantity of salt I suppose but it was definitely too much.  No time to even attempt to rectify my action, of course, so I let it be.  It definitely resulted in visual texture, that’s for sure.

9 - Raven Black - Art Journal